Today I was talking with someone who was going to start living together with her boyfriend this summer. He's moving into her place. She described him as a pack rat. She'd been worried that he would move in all his stuff and she would get overwhelmed.
After reading my book, she told her boyfriend that she'd been clutter busting some of her stuff to make space for him. She offered to help him do some clutter busting before the move. He agreed to go through just one box of stuff with her. It was filled with lots of memorabilia. He'd pull something out of the box and say, "Oh my God, this means so much to me. This was from when I ________." She knew to take the gentle and kind approach. She let him talk. She didn't say, "But you're not using that anymore", or "Why do you want to keep that?"
After he was done reminiscing and describing his feelings, she knew to softly say, "Do you want this anymore, or can we let it go?" She said he was surprised to find himself letting go of most of the things in the box. He felt so good afterwards that he decided to go through another box with her. They plan on continuing to clutter bust until the move in date.
I liked this story because it was about taking the time with each thing. There was no harshness or pressure. The feelings were considered and the question was asked. Sometimes we need a few minutes with an item so the feelings get to be felt, the experience happens, and then we can move on.
I also enjoyed hearing about the kindness during the process. She was scared initially about all his things coming into her home, but she didn't let her fears come into play and distort their connection. She stayed open and present for him so he could be open and present for himself. It's one of the great things we can do for each other.